Does relapse often happen? How can it be avoided?
For gambling, like most addictive behaviours, relapse can often occur when someone is trying to stop the problematic behaviour. By relapse, we mean a return to being out of control of one`s playing. Relapses are often interpreted by the player, and those close to them, as a failure. Another fairly common response on the part of the player, is to trivialise the relapse. However, these two attitudes (dramatisation/trivialisation) do not help the player to regain control. Indeed, the player who trivialises the problem may miss signs that the loss of control is likely to worsen. Conversely, the player that dramatises a relapse can interpret the event as an inability to make lasting changes, and therefore stop making any efforts.
For professionals, relapse is considered to be an integral part of the change process. It is important to take the time to consider the context in which the relapse occurred. This may provide an opportunity to identify new factors that can help the process of change. A relapse might also enable the implementation of new strategies to maintain changes.